Each session begins at 4:00 P.M. on the first day followed by an orientation meeting after dinner and ends after breakfast on the last day. The programs consist of general sessions for the whole group and small-group class sessions covering a variety of topics such as minerals, beading, exhibiting, cabochon making, faceting, wire-wrapping, silversmithing, pewter fabrication, PMC, fused glass, soapstone carving, etc. The workshop staff is comprised of experts in the various areas of the hobby. Most are EFMLS members and serve to share their knowledge with others.
2021 Wildacres Fall Session Class Descriptions (9/6 – 9/11). For a complete class listing, contact:
2021 Spring Classes (Cancelled)
2020 Fall Classes (Cancelled, see proposed list at the bottom)
2020 Spring Classes (Cancelled)
Geology 1st semester––Rob Robinson
A basic introduction to rocks and minerals and the study of the earth. The class will include a discussion and class activity about how geologists interpret rocks to tell geologic history related to their formation, deformation and sequence and timing of events. Weather permitting there will be a field trip to local rock exposures to illustrate local rock types, the deformation types, and how a geologist maps and interprets structures (limited walking is required.) Please bring a loupe or other magnification, hiking boots or sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes for the half-day field trips. Geologic hammer and safety glasses are also desirable. (Do not bring a nail hammer – they are unsafe to hit rocks.) 2-day class offered first semester. No experience needed.
Geology 2nd semester––Rob Robinson
An overview of plate techtonics, geologic history and the geology of the Blue Ridge region and its minerals. We will discuss the geologic environments hosting mineral and gem collecting sites. Come prepared to identify some of your collecting localities to be part of this exercise. Weather permitting there will be a field trip to the Blue Ridge Museum showing local rocks and geologic history and another to see local geology. (A one-mile walk over gentle trails is required for the geology trip.) Some knowledge of basic geology preferred. Please refer to Geology I for suggested tools,. Clothing and magnification. 2-day class offered second semester
Wire Wrapping 1st semester––Jacolyn Campbell
Using pliers, gold-filled or sterling silver wire, assorted beads or gemstones, and a few basic wirecraft techniques, learn how to create your own fashion rings, bracelets, pendants and earrings to add that perfect accent to your jewelry wardrobe or to give as gifts. All tools and materials will be provided. Basic participants will make an adjustable ring, two bracelets, a pendant and two pairs of earrings. 2 day class offered first semester
Wire Wrapping 2nd semester––Jacolyn Campbell
Intermediate- Designed for those with some experience (or a brave beginner) participants will make a fitted ring, two pairs of earrings, a cabochon pendant and a bracelet. 2 day class offered second semester.
Cabochons 1st semester––Bernie Emery
Learn to transform a piece of rock into a shiny, well-formed cabochon. You will learn the use of the trim saw as well as basics of grinding, sanding and polishing. Slabs are provided or students September use their own with approval of the instructor. Please bring an apron and safety glasses. 2-day class offered first semester. No prior experience necessary.
Cabochons 2nd semester––Bernie Emery
Learn to cut different shapes and the techniques needed to do so. Slabs are provided or students September use their own with approval of the instructor. Please bring an apron and safety glasses. Prerequisite: Students must have prior experience with cabbing and use of the trim saw. 2-day class offered second semester.
Silversmithing 1st semester––Richard Mesler
Have fun learning the basics of working silver sheet and wire to fabricate jewelry. The projects will introduce you to annealing/bending/shaping/texturing metal, soldering, piercing and polishing. Students will receive a kit containing the necessary metals and supplies to complete these projects as well as a detailed written step by step description of each project. 2-day class offered 1st semester. No prior experience necessary
Silversmithing 2nd semester––Richard Meszler
Continue your education working with metals by doing a more complex project. You will learn to make a bezel setting & bail into which you will set a cabochon to make a pendant. Students will receive a kit containing the necessary metals and supplies to complete this project as well as a detailed written step by step description of each project. Prerequisite: Basic silversmithing experience including soldering. 2-day class offered 2nd semester
Intro to Inlay 1st semester––Chuck Bruce
Students will construct an inlay box pendant and student choice after. Students can bring basic silver tools, pocketknife or scribe, will have all tools needed. Students need to bring or purchase 2-3 slabs of rock that are similar hardness, Woods, Fossil Ivory and can be combined for inlay. Pattern stones do very well with plain colored stone. Expect waste rock.
Intro to Inlay 2nd semester––Chuck Bruce
Student will finish fabrication of Small Trapper Folding knife. Students can bring basic silver tools, pocketknife or scribe, will have all tools needed. Students need to bring or purchase 2-3 slabs of rock that are similar hardness, Woods, Fossil Ivory and can be combined for inlay. Pattern stones do very well with plain colored stone. Expect waste rock.
Fold Forming/Cold Connections 1st semester––Micah
The class introduce intro to fold forming and connecting base metals without heat (cold). We will cover how to use forming tools and hammers, wire, tubing, and rivets as fasteners. Hinging and tab setting also be covered. We will explore design concepts with texturing, using stamps, hammers and rolling mill. Forming and tab setting techniques will be implemented as well. Class will Learn a to design an Air Chased cuff from copper tubing and a pair of matching Earrings. Gain knowledge of texturing and forming the cuff.
Class will produce a one cuff and 1 pair of earrings and finish with tumbling.
Fold Forming/Cold Connections 2nd semester––
Class will Learn Design and fabricate a Pair of Earrings and Pendent. Combing multiple pieces and connecting with wire, tube or rivet. Using stamps, hammer or rolling mill to texture. The Pendent will involve the same techniques also a tab set stone/ found object and finish with tumbling (pendent will tumble before setting).
Students will learn to cut and polish a 57-facet round brilliant gemstone. In addition, they will learn how to identify well-cut stones, select rough material and see whether or not they enjoy this fascinating aspect of the hobby. Students are asked to bring an Optivisor if they have one. Jeweler’s loupe needed and will be available from the instructor for purchase. No prior experience is necessary. 4-day class.
Soapstone Carving––Sandy Cline
This class will provide a general introduction to the carving of soapstone. You will develop a working knowledge of the material, tools, safe handling issues and the methods used to complete a carving. You will produce a simple piece and progress to making a more advanced sculpture of your choice. The development of your own personal style will be encouraged. No prior experience needed. 2-day class offered both semesters
2020 Fall Classes (Cancelled)
Class: Instructor; Description
Low Tech Casting: Linda Searcy; 4 Day class- For all skill levels (1st & 2nd Semester)
Experiment with low tech casting techniques using MAPP gas torches. We will explore ways to melt silver and cast silver objects using broomstraw, water, dried peas/beans/rice, coffee beans, and rock salt. You’ll work toward creating components that can be made into jewelry pieces. Students should be comfortable with using torches and soldering techniques.
Viking Knit: Val Johnson; 1st Semester
You will learn a technique used nearly 1300 years ago by ancient people to weave a silver rope. Viking knit is also called trichinopoly chain and was used to make bracelets, trim on clothing and many other decorative objects. Once you learn the skill it is very easy and uses few tools and supplies to create stunning chains.
Wireworks: Val Johnson; 2nd Semester
Students will learn how to work with various tools to create sterling silver wire wrapped jewelry. You will become familiar with the techniques needed to bend and twist wire to make a bracelet and a pendant. 2 day class offered 2nd semester. No prior experience necessary. Hazard: Wire wrapping can damage acrylic or long fingernails.
Intarsia: John Milligan; 1st Semester (repeats 2nd Semester)
Intarsia is the making of a geometric design using a variety of stones cut to precision and fitted together to form a pattern while leaving no gaps between the pieces. In this course, students will learn the beginning skills of Intarsia by melding together stones of various colors and patterns to form a finished cabochon. Students should bring an Optivisor. Prerequisite: Must have cabbing experience.
Basic Silversmithing: Richard Meszler; 1st Semester
Have fun learning the basics of working silver sheet and wire to fabricate jewelry. The projects will introduce you to annealing/bending/shaping/texturing metal, soldering, piercing and polishing. Students will receive a kit containing the necessary metals and supplies to complete these projects as well as a detailed written step by step description of each project.. No prior experience necessary
Intermediate Silversmithing: Richard Meszler; 2nd Semester
Continue your education working with metals by doing a more complex project. You will learn to make a bezel setting & bail into which you will set a cabochon to make a pendant. Students will receive a kit containing the necessary metals and supplies to complete this project as well as a detailed written step by step description of each project. Prerequisite: Basic silversmithing experience including soldering.
A Journey Through Ultra-Violet and Fluorescent Minerals: Bob (UV Bob) McGuire; (repeats 2nd Semester)
Study the finding of UV light and learn about UV lamps from the start. Ugly rocks- there are no ugly rocks. Just wait until you see how they get along with UV light! Find out what’s in your collection and other uses for fluorescence. Can fluorescence be photographed? In this class you will find out how to do it.